There use to be a time when teaching was looked upon as being a noble profession. Teachers were looked upon with respect and esteem in their communities. Teachers were the ones who were shaping the next generation of community leaders and workers. Other than parents, they had the most interaction and influence on molding the minds of our most precious commodity; our children.
Today’s view of teachers and the teaching profession are changing. These changes are certainly impacting not just the number of people going into teaching as a profession, but it is affecting the quality of teachers we are seeing in our schools and their length of tenure.
Here are five items that I see from my perspective of a teaching principal that are driving people from the profession, sometimes in as little as five years from their start.
In general, for the amount of time teachers put into their college education and then education beyond their college days to retain certification, teachers are poorly paid. This will vary from region to region and even city to city, but overall, teacher often realize that their education can earn them more money in a profession other than teaching. An article posted on the WEAC (Wisconsin Education Association Council) site talks about pay lags for teachers when compared with other professions, http://www.weac.org/news_and_publications/education_news/2004-2005/teacherpay.aspx
More Work Than They Thought
Many people looking at teaching as the profession of giving homework, correcting homework, and maybe needing to discipline to maintain the classroom peace from time to time. And best of all, three months of vacation in the summer! What most teachers find out is that their job starts before the first bell of the day and goes well beyond the last bell. Planning for the next year can keep them busy right through the summer months too.
Many new teachers need more information and help to get started in their profession than they take from college. A veteran teacher to mentor them is a must. Many schools do not provide such a person though, and a new teacher is left to survive on their own. Often they end up frustrated and decide to move to a different profession while they are still young and a career change is feasible.
More and more parents are becoming a sore spot for teachers. Instead of teachers and parents working in a partnership to educate children, more teachers are finding themselves at odds with parents in a struggle to educate. This struggle is making many teachers throw in the towel and move on to a more peaceful occupation.
Limited Opportunities to Advance in the Teaching Profession
Unlike other professions, a classroom teacher is most likely going to be a classroom teacher for their career. There is not much room for upward movement in the teaching profession. Most movement in teaching occurs between departments or schools, not so much a promotion in status or pay. An ambitious person who desires to challenge themselves with their career, may soon find themselves trapped in a career that seems to have no place for them to aspire to.